What are Pakistan’s chances in the upcoming series vs Australia?
Australia got things back on track after their win against South Africa in day-night test at Adelaide Oval. However, everything will be at stake again when they lock horns against Pakistan for another pink ball encounter at Gabba. Gabba has been Australia’s fortress. Its been 28 years since Australia lost a test at Gabba.
Down under hasn’t been a favorite destination of Pakistanis in recent times. In the last 9 tests played in Australia , Pakistan have lost all 9 (whitewashes in 1999, 2004 and 2009). In fact in 2009 Pakistan got whitewashed in ODIS and T20Is as well.
Australia have had a dismal year so far. There batting hasn’t clicked and there bowlers especially Mitch Starc has looked lethal with his pace but not accurate with his line and lengths. They seem to look settled with the bunch of new guys but the onus is again on Steve Smith and David Warner to deliver the goods with the bat. Both are still looking for their first hundred of the season and there couldn’t be a better place than Gabba to get it. Last time when Warner played at Gabba he got 100s in both innings (163 and 116 vs New Zealand). Hometown boy Usman Khawaja fresh from a hundred in a consoling win at Adelaide Oval will be looking to carry on his merry way against his country of birth. The bowling attack except Hazlewood has looked lackluster and it is fair to say despite of trying Siddle, Mennie and Bird in earlier test matches Australia haven’t found their third seamer. The extra bounce at The newcomers Renshaw, Maddinson, Handscombe and Wade didn’t make a huge imapct in Australia’s win but they will be looking to cement their places for India tour and Ashes next year. There are talks about Chadd Sayers getting his baggy green but more than likely Australia will go with Nathan Lyon.
Australia squad : David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Peter Handscombe, Nic Maddinson, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers
For Pakistan, the best thing to happen to them this year has been Sami Aslam. In recent times there has been a fair bit of chopping and changing going on at the top of the order with Shan Masood, Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, occupying the spot in the past. But Sami Aslam along with Azhar Ali form a perfect foil. Lot will be dependent on middle order Pillars Misbah Younis and Asad Shafiq. Misbah and Younis have not scored a single hundred down under and their form with pretty much decides Pakistan’s chances with the bat. In fact both have just 1 fify to their name on Australian soil (Younis 87 in 2004 and Misbah 65 in 2009). Pakistan have an attack of potent fast bowlers who can exploit the conditions. However the injury to Yasir is a big blow. In case Yasir misses out, Mohammad Nawaz is likely to get the nod over 17 year old left arm spinner Mohammad Asghar. On paper Pakistan have 3 out of 10 chances of winning the series. Time and time again they shown that the can fall like nine pins at any point of the game but if they can overcome that have a chance to turn the tables.
Pakistan squad: Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali, Sharjeel khan, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Amir, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Imran Khan, Mohammad Asghar.